Thursday, June 18, 2009

Too Bad I Don't Like Beer

The Most Interesting Man in the World gets his picture taken with the Dos Equis guy.
Imagine there are two guys in your ward, both active in the church and stalwart in the faith. One is a vegetarian who prefers to eat mostly organic food, fresh and in season. He drinks herbal teas, and almost never eats meat. By "almost never", I mean he's not stupid; he'd eat an animal if he ever found himself in a situation where he was starving. But he tries to eat healthy, and he has one guilty pleasure no one in his ward knows about: At the end of a long day, he likes to kick back with a cold beer.

The second guy loves food - all kinds of food. Especially meat. For him, a day without meat would be a day without sunshine. Junk food is a way of life with this guy. He could take or leave fruits and vegetables, and he mostly leaves them. He wouldn't think of drinking herbal teas, because "hot drinks are not for the body" (except hot chocolate). He doesn't smoke, drink, or dance the hoochi-coo. And he looks like Jabba the Hut.

So here's the question: Which one of these two guys would you say most perfectly lives the Word of Wisdom?

Answer: Bachelor number one.

But, you ask, what about that daily beer?

I said most perfectly. Because, along with his other positive habits, he drinks beer, he's the one most perfectly living the Word of Wisdom. God tells us in Section 89 that beer is one of the reasons He gave us barley.

If you didn't know that, it's probably because like many latter day saints, you learned all about the Word of Wisdom in Sunday school, but you've most likely never gotten around to really reading the thing.

So let's look at it again. Remember the part describing the purposes of the various grains, the one that begins "Nevertheless, wheat for man..."? Open your scriptures to Doctrine and Covenants Section 89 and turn to verse 17. Let's read, in God's own words, what he created barley for: "...and barley for all useful animals and for mild drinks, as also other grain."

The early saints would have been astounded that future members would ever conflate their mild barley drink -beer- with the "strong drink" advised against in verses 5 and 7. Early Mormons regularly consumed beer without compunction, as had most of mankind throughout recorded history.

In 1843 the church's newspaper, the Nauvoo Neighbor, advertised ale and beer available at the Nauvoo Brewery. Joseph Smith oversaw a fully stocked bar located at his home in the Mansion House. In an 1844 journal entry Joseph Smith mentions that he stopped in and "drank a glass of beer at Moesser's". He mentions this in passing as if it was no big deal, because to him it wasn't.

[Update July 2, 2014: An alert reader has informed me that the link provided above is no longer active. The source of the quote by Joseph referring to his drinking a beer at Moesser's is his Journal entry for June 1st, 1844 as published on page 486 in "An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith," Edited by Scott Faulring. You'll find it in the second paragraph from the bottom of the page. It's doubtless also in one of the volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers, but the two journal volumes I own only go to 1843.]

[Update June 8, 2015: Another reader has provided a link to a pdf file of the journal record.  As of this time, when you click on the link it should take you to a photostatic copy of that file.]

This was eleven years after Joseph received the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom, so you can't say he didn't know better. The fact is, beer was not proscribed by Section 89; it was prescribed.

Within three years of the saints' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, breweries were operating at the mouths of every river canyon from Logan to Nephi. Most of the saints were immigrants from England, Denmark, and Germany, and these Teutonics brought with them their old-world brewing skills. A sizable brewery once sat close to where the Provo temple is now, and the Henry Wagener Brewery took up a massive 150 acres just across the street from where the "This Is The Place" monument now stands. So many breweries appeared so fast that by 1851 the smell emanating from all these operations provoked the city council to declare them a nuisance. Yet they continued to operate.

Beer was manufactured and consumed by faithful members of the church who never gave a second thought to the idea that there might be anything wrong with it. Most would have applied Benjamin Franklin's famous declaration regarding wine to their beer and ale, that it was "proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy".

By the time Johnston's Army arrived in 1857, ushering in a steady stream of thirsty gentiles through Utah, things really took off for the Mormon brewers. Beer was available everywhere, including the church owned ZCMI where both Mormons and gentiles could stop in to grab a brewski any day but Sunday.

So how did the LDS church membership devolve from an appreciation of beer as a gift from God, to our present-day anathema toward it?

Well, we got the idea from the protestants.

Temperance Nation

By the time of the Manifesto in 1890, the LDS conversion rate was practically nil. All anybody knew about Mormons were that they were that crazy bunch of polygamous weirdos off in the desert. Any growth the church experienced was primarily internal, as pretty much the only baptisms Utahns were performing were on eight year old kids who already lived there. Certainly nobody new wanted to join.

The united states government and the eastern newspapers had painted us such pariahs that we couldn't get anybody to take our religion seriously on a bet. Missionaries couldn't get anyone to take a pamphlet, let alone read the Book of Mormon. Proselyting was at a standstill. We needed to find some way to get our numbers up.

Meanwhile back in the states, a huge temperance movement was sweeping the sectarian religious world, a backlash against decades of unbridled American alcoholism and public drunkenness. Public vows of abstinence were all the rage. It was no longer cool to profess Christ on Sunday if you spent Saturday night in a saloon; now a man's spiritual measure was taken by how vociferously he denounced the demon rum.

The motto of virtuous young women everywhere was "lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine", and young men, whose lips desperately wanted to touch the lips of young women, dutifully fell into line. It was futile to argue with these women that beer and ale, which were brewed, did not belong in the same class as hard liquors such as whiskey, which was distilled. These young ladies had zero tolerance for any of it, it was all the same to them. Talk to the hand, 'cause the lips ain't listenin'.

There was a pious war against booze raging in Christian America, and mild drinks were getting caught in the crossfire.

The debate spilled over into Utah where, though public drunkenness was strictly forbidden, wine and distilled spirits had always been available (some members paid their tithing in wine they made themselves; the St George tithing office reported collecting 7000 gallons by 1887). Still, hard liquor was hardly tolerated by Mormons the way beer had traditionally been.

By 1900, the parsing of the Word of Wisdom was well under way in debate among the leaders of the church. According to BYU Professor Emeritus Thomas G. Alexander:

"...All general authorities were not in agreement on all aspects of the word of wisdom...After he became president of the church, Lorenzo Snow again emphasized the centrality of not eating meat...and in 1901 John Henry Smith and Brigham Young, Jr., of the Twelve both thought that the church ought not interdict beer, at least not Danish beer." Apostle Anthon H. Lund, who happened to be Danish, agreed, especially with the part about Danish beer. So did did Mathias F.Cowley and others.

Over the next couple of decades, the Mormon people as a whole jumped on the Temperance bandwagon, and in 1919 Utah enthusiastically ratified the 18th amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages, including beer. Utah breweries closed down and before long all traces disappeared. In time, the descendants of the pioneers forgot they had ever existed. Land once occupied by the sprawling Henry Wagoner Company eventually became home to the Hogle zoo.

The Mormon support of prohibition had a positive effect on missionary work. We could boast to teetotaling Christians that we were way ahead of the curve on the evils of alcohol, having been hip to that scene as far back as 1833. With the hub-bub over polygamy having pretty much quieted down, the church was experiencing a re-branding. Missionaries were no longer fearsome devils come to steal your daughters; they were now those nice young men who didn't smoke or drink.

Looks like we'd found our gimmick.

After America came to its senses and repealed prohibition in 1933, many Christians no longer saw any harm in the occasional beer, but by this time Mormons were so proudly tethered to their image as the fermentedly free that they couldn't let go. It allowed us to remain a peculiar people, but now in a good way. Our image as strict non-drinkers was what was now defining us to the rest of the world. It was the thing that was getting us in the papers.

And within the church the Word of Wisdom gradually transmogrified from a gentle principle with promise to That Doctrine Which Must Be Obeyed.

The Commandment That Never Was

Anyone who actually reads the Word of Wisdom is struck by the dichotomy between what is declared in its opening verses and the way it's promulgated by the church today. The actual revelation is very clear in its wording that what is to follow is "not by way of commandment or constraint". It's a guide to healthy living, a principle with a promise attached for any who choose to follow the wise advice therein.

A modern member might hear about the Word of Wisdom all his life and never know of the counsel it gives regarding food -what should be eaten and what should not. The emphasis today is always on the four negatives we are to avoid: alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco (and sometimes Pepsi, according to some). A person can think he's living the Word of Wisdom to the letter without ever having read it, and actually be in egregious violation of it, like Brother Jabba above.

So, who changed the Word of Wisdom? How and when did the Lord declare unquestioning obedience to be so paramount that almost all other doctrines and practices take a back seat?

In Seminary I was told that some years after the saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young announced that the saints had now had plenty of time to quit using tobacco, liquor, tea, and coffee, and that henceforth the Lord had declared they were to live it as a commandment.

But is this true? Did Brigham Young ever make such a declaration? More importantly, did Jesus Christ, author of the revelation, tell Brigham Young that it was no longer voluntary?

When Joseph Fielding Smith was an apostle, he authored a set of books entitled "Answers to Gospel Questions". Here's where we get our modern interpretation:

"September 9th, 1851, President Brigham Young stated that the members of the church Had had sufficient time to be taught the import of this revelation, and that henceforth it was to be considered a divine commandment. This was first put before the male members and then before the women, and by unanimous vote accepted."

With all due respect to the late President Smith, if an anti-Mormon had tried to pass off such a misleading statement about Mormon history as this, he would have been accused of distorting and twisting the facts. Nothing like what president Smith avers occurred at all. Brigham Young didn't convert the Word of Wisdom into a commandment, nor did he claim the Lord did. Nor did the body of the church ever vote to accept it as a commandment. Here is what actually happened as recorded in the Millenial Star:

"President Young rose to put the motion and called on all the sisters who will leave off the use of tea, coffee, etc., to manifest it by raising the right hand; seconded and carried.

"And then put the following motion; calling on all the boys who were under ninety years of age who would covenant to leave off the use of tobacco, Whiskey, and all things mentioned in the Word of Wisdom to manifest it in like manner, which was carried unanimously."

As Robert J. McCue makes clear in his analysis "Did The Word of Wisdom Become a Commandment in 1851?", the vote was simply a personal commitment by those present to abstain from items condemned in the Word of Wisdom. It wasn't until nine years later that Brigham Young himself gave up tobacco, although he had long considered the habit uncouth, filthy, and offensive. In 1860, nearly a decade after he was supposed to have declared the Word of Wisdom a commandment, he advised the Brethren, "If you must use tobacco, put a small portion in your mouth when no person sees you, and be careful that no one sees you chew it. I do not charge you with sin."

The evidence is that Brigham Young regretted his earlier call for the young men and women to commit to stop using these substances, for it appears that many caught up in the fervor of the moment were unable to keep their resolutions for very long. Years later, President Young made this statement:

"I will not call upon you to make a covenant to do this, for some might break their covenants, and that would be a sin."

Brigham Young made many statements condemning the use of hard liquor and tobacco, but never claimed a commandment from the Lord on the subject. Indeed, Thomas G. Alexander affirms that there never has been a revelation from the Lord requiring obedience to the Word of Wisdom, or converting it from voluntary to mandatory.

This is not to say that these substances are not harmful; there's no question that they are. But God only commands us regarding our interactions with others. He does not interfere with our free agency to make our own mistakes regarding how we treat ourselves.

Beer For The Body

Raised as I was to believe that beer was the devil's brew, I was really caught up short awhile back when I read something in a newsletter by a very Godly natural health expert whose opinion I had
always trusted. This author is read by religiously hard-core vegans and food purists who strive at putting only pure raw foods into their bodies and avoiding all harmful substances in their search for both physical and spiritual perfection. He told his readers that most of them were neglecting an essential nutrient that God had provided for thousands of years: Beer. More particularly, fermented hops, an essential ingredient in beer.

According to this expert, for at least the past four thousand years, mankind drank beer at the end of the day to relax, and there's a reason: God meant for it to be that way. God gives our bodies the means to accomplish what's necessary throughout the day. Our bodies create stress so that we can get things done. Stress is what enables us to get up, go, and keep going.

But at the end of the day the body needs to let go of all that stress, otherwise the nervous system remains to some degree highstrung; it never truly unwinds. The pollinated hops flower contains anodynes and soporifics that relax the nerves in a way nothing else can, and a beer made of fermented barley is the best way to deliver those hops to the nerves that need them. The small amount of alcohol in a pint of beer assists in that delivery.

And this is key: one beer is all it takes; more than a pint or two is too much. An excess amount of beer can be detrimental to the liver and other parts of the body. That's why Section 89 calls for moderation.

It may not even be necessary to have a beer every day. For some people a pint at the end of the week does the trick. The point is to reverse the stress buildup and relax your nervous system. Beer has antibiotic properties, it helps you sleep, and the barley contains important B vitamins and other nutrients. Those who stress all day and do not provide their bodies with the means to undo all that stress before bedtime are asking for trouble.

Are there other ways besides beer to cope with the stresses of life? I suppose. Antidepressant drugs are prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, and at twice the national average. I would guess one reason is because, unlike the rest of the world, we refuse to recognize and use a natural substance God gave us to cope with stress, even when our own scriptures provide for it.

If we are to believe the statistics, Mormon women are the country's unhappiest creatures. Wouldn't it make more sense if, instead of ingesting a dangerous drug twice a day, you simply followed the counsel of the Lord and sipped at a bottle of beer while reading to the kids? You could help them learn what the Word of Wisdom really says, while at the same time affirming to them Ben Franklin's adage regarding the proof of God's love.

Or are you more comfortable rejecting the counsel of God in favor of obeying the doctrines of men?

What All This Has To Do With Me

Even though I now know it's good for me, I confess to not drinking any beer myself yet. The thing is, I tried beer some forty years ago and couldn't stand the taste. I just don't understand what anybody sees in it. It's horrible. I'd sooner drink my own urine.

But I've decided I ought to give it another try, though this time with a quality brew. The problem is, I haven't the slightest idea how to go about selecting a good beer. I know nothing about it. I'm the squarest square in Squares-ville.

Actually, it's not so much quality I'm looking for as something that would just taste acceptable to me as a first time beer drinker. I sure don't want to buy a twelve-pack of something with a fancy label just to find out it tastes like crap. I don't know how to tell one brand from another.

I went to Smart & Final to read the ingredients on labels, but guess what? Beer labels don't tell you what's in the beer. I suppose it's assumed that all beer has the same ingredients, but since I wasn't sure, I didn't buy any. I did see that some labels say they're made with wheat, but I don't know if that means wheat only, or wheat in addition to barley and hops. Would wheat and barley and hops taste better than simply barley and hops? And how would I know which is which?

What I think I'm looking for is a traditional brew made with hops and barley, so I can have the kind of beer Joseph Smith himself would have drank. But I want it to taste decent, so I'm open to suggestions.

I know that some of the readers of this blog are Jack-Mormons (excuse me, "less actives") who may have discovered the joys of beer already, so I'm counting on you to help me out with this so that I can finally, truly start living the Word of Wisdom.


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Anonymous said...

The council against hot drinks referred to the hot alcoholic drinks of the time. Such as hot gin or rum toddies. But Apostle George Q. Cannon took it to extremes. He believed that the prohibition on hot drinks referred to the temperature. And so he also instructed Mormons to avoid serving hot soups, stews, and cooked grain cereals.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the temperature, per se...but the hot drinks which contained liquors. It's only common sense to avoid drinking scalding liquids. It was LDS Apostle George Q. Cannon who came to the conclusion that 'hot drinks' referred to the temperature. He also preached prohibition on serving hot soups, stews, and boiled grain cereals.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Pick up a tea pot. My son loves herbal tea. He picked up an electric counter top pot that heats water much more rapidly than the stove. Here are some natural tips for fighting colds:

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Vietnamese noodle soup - Pho is also chock full of ingredients that bolster the immune system.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Especially in light of the fact that Joseph Smith enjoyed his cigars and hand rolled cigarettes right up until the day he died.

Janice Gordon

Naomi Win Martin said...

I don't have an awful lot of time to respond to what's been said, so apologies for approaching a very large issue in such a brief way, but I did want to add comment.

In short, I respect what you said and your faithful support of the sustained leaders, but I suspect your interpretation of sustaining the brethren is different than mine. Have you read J. Reuben Clark's “When Are the Words of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?" It's pertinent to this discussion and worth a read.

Sustaining the brethren to me means not rallying public, academic mutiny on the brethren attacking them for receiving revelation the same way anyone does. You're correct, the brethren are voted into their positions and given the mantle of leading the organization of the church, but there's a huge leap to be made from that to 'therefore whatever they say is of God and must be upheld without question or alternate interpretation'.

Just for starters, it's been said that "we make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators.” (James E. Faust, “Continuous Revelation,” Ensign, Nov 1989,and sometimes when revelations are received, it's been acknowledged by Joseph Smith that “some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.” (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:163 (take for example the instance of him trying to sell the copyright of the BOM in Canada - that was a revelation he thought was of God but then later said was of the devil - even prophets can get confused).

And I'm sure you've read this one : “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.” (Journal of Discourses, 9:150 [quoted by James E. Faust, "Continuous Revelation," Ensign, Nov 1989, 8].

I absolutely see what you're seeing, Steve, but I think not being supportive of the God-given right to question, operate on personal revelation while respecting the Brethren's right to address the church body with their personal judgment and inspiration, is all a part of working out our own salvation.

Anon 23 said...


Just because they may make a unanimous decision on something, doesn't mean it's God's will. They could all be without the Spirit and easily deceived to go along with things that are wrong or the Adversary's revelation, as I believe they do all the time. Even Joseph Smith and his apostles were often deceived by the Adversary's revelation.

But more important, it is obvious that this Church is not the same Church that Joseph Smith restored. This current LDS Church is completely Brigham Young's making, and it preaches and practices the vilest of evils and opposite doctrines to what Christ or Joseph Smith preached.

Joseph's true Church was lost and went into complete apostasy after his died, and it broke into many different groups or the few righteous just went off on their own and did the best they could without a true prophet to lead them anymore. Brigham Young just happened to convince the most people to follow and support him in his evil doctrines that were totally opposite to what Joseph taught. But most Saints refused to listen to Joseph, that's why they lost him and fell for false prophets like Brigham Young.

So you can stand by the LDS Church leaders and what they do and say if you would like, but that doesn't mean you are standing with Christ and God.

I encourage you to study Christ's teachings and the teachings of Joseph Smith and the ancient Prophets in the Book of Mormon, then you will start to see how contrary the Church's 'unanimous' decisions really are to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a huge fan of most wines. Too dry or sour tasting for me. When I drink wine, I prefer the 'dessert wines'. Kosher blackberry for me every time. If the LDS church didn't want to 'obey' the instructions of Yeshua found in every tome of scripture the LDS church accepts as scriptural, for the purpose of the alcoholic content then they could opt for grape juice. The fruit of the vine needn't necessarily be alcoholic.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Sorry Charlie...that's a flawed premise. Tell you what. My parents were both fanatics in regards to what the LDS leaders told them in regards to alchohol, tobacco and what they were told about the evils of caffeine. My mother once whipped me into a mass of oozing welts because she had bought a six pack of tall can beers to use the cans for a craft project she had seen in a magazine. She was pouring the beer out, and in childish curiosity I had put my finger under the flow and tasted it. She also whipped me, and my dad beat me because they discovered when I was going to the 7-11 around the block I was putting Coke slurpee in the bottom half of my glass and filling the rest with cherry. That wasn't a good week for me. My parents never touched a drop of liquor. And they abused me in every way shape or form two parents could abuse a little girl. Apparently they were not able to discern from good and evil when dad was sneaking into my room late at night and carrying me to the other end of the house to sodomize me. But he never touched a drop of alcohol. Oy freaking vey.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I drink wine here and there, and maybe one or two beers a day if I feel like it. I might even have a lovely tropical mixed drink at a restaurant if I feel like it. And I have NEVER beaten, battered, whipped, or sexually abused my child. Never paint with such a broad brush of generalization. While it's true that people who drink to absolute intoxication make mistakes in's not true of every one of them.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Always remembering...there are people who have a propensity toward addictive behaviors. Some people are addicted to adrenaline rushes and engage in risky behavior. Some like to race their motorcycles at high speeds and disregard the rules of the road. Some like to bungee jump. Some like to jump from a perfectly good airplane and parachute to the ground. Sometimes the motorcycle enthusiasts run out of luck, crash and lose life or limb. Sometimes the bungee cord breaks. Sometimes the chute doesn't open. Some enjoy computer games, and some become addicted. Some enjoy sexy movies and some get addicted to porn. It's a matter of understanding limits, and boundaries. Not everyone who likes high risk sports has a death wish. Not everyone who enjoys gaming becomes addicted. And not everyone who likes a glass of wine, or a bottle of beer now and then are going to turn into winos, or perpetual drunkards.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Full of yourself much?

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

The individuals you mentioned, Moses, Samuel and Joseph Smith among others were hand selected by random. They were not part of any hierarchy, nor did they wait in line to ascend to leadership through their places within such a hierarchy.

The very basis of the LDS church is prophecy through personal revelation, and hand selection of prophets by the Lord. God selected a young boy to bring about the restoration of knowledge which had been withdrawn from the world.

And since Joseph Smith was murdered before naming his successor...and since his wife Emma stated that her husband had intended that his eldest son be his successor in the leadership of the LDS church in event of his death...and since Joseph was killed before his son came of age...and according to Emma had instructed her that his own brother should lead the church until his son reached his majority...then it is highly likely that the LDS church apostacized at the moment when Brigham Young seized leadership through subterfuge and trickery.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Anonymous...I also spent a long time formulating a lengthy response to another individual's post. Apparently you are allowed a finite number of words to each post, because mine would not post. Did your responses actually post to the page? Did you see them posted, and then they disappeared? Or is it possible that you hit the wrong key and deleted them yourself? I've done that a time or two...which is why my son always reminds me to copy and save what I'm writing occasionally, in case I accidentally hit the wrong button.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

I tried the herb twice. Both times made me ill. It may be that it was tainted with something, or that I'm allergic to that specific herb.

I only wish my mother wasn't so Mormony that she refused the relief it offers while she was suffering and dying of cancer.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agreed. Another point to consider...there are none who truly know the nature of God, and God's will for humanity. They can BELIEVE what they are told they should believe, they can have a pretty good idea based upon what they perceive that the Holy Spirit is telling them...but they do not and cannot know until they stand with their Creator face to face and speak with Him/Her as one would speak to their own father or mother.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

It depends largely upon what you're eating. For is awesome with a real Sicilian style pizza, or with a hot pastrami on rye sammich. Ice cold beer with these items is like a little bit of heaven.

Janice Gordon

Anonymous said...

They did when Brigham Young was preaching his Blood Atonement theory.

Janice Gordon

Anon 23 said...

Actually if everyone was a prophet we would not need prophets, for then everyone would receive the same information, knowledge and revelation from the Spirit as the 'ordained' prophet would. Thus there would be no need to be led by a prophet for people could just be led by the Spirit, once they had the Priesthood.

The only reason to have prophets is to help others become prophets and prophetesses. And it takes one to know one. If we aren't prophets ourselves we will be easily deceived to follow false prophets.

So the only ones who need a prophet are those who aren't prophets yet.


I also believe that the true Church was lost when Joseph died, for even though he may have wanted his son to be his successor, it didn't seem to pan out and the RLDS Church went down hill too, though I don't think it was ever a true Church either.

Brigham happened to be able to convince the most people in Nauvoo to follow him and sadly accept his whoredoms and evils, although Joseph had warned the saints over and over about not falling for polygamy and false prophets like Brigham. But most of the Saints refused to listen to Joseph and thus lost their prophet and easily fell for false doctrines and false prophets like Brigham and his gang.

Anon 23 said...


I'm truly sorry for all you had to endure while growing up. It's amazing and a true testament to your goodness and strength that you are so wonderful, strong and awake today.

I understand how common it is in the Church for people to feel or say they are so righteous while supporting or doing the vilest of evils. I believe all Church leaders from top to bottom are all doing this, yet they don't see, or don't want to see, the evil they do, while professing to be so righteous.

It also reminds me of false prophets like Brigham Young, who got up preaching to the people to no end, while he abused women and committed adultery continually by polygamy and the many other evils he chose to believe were ok.

I believe Brigham knew he was doing evil, like I believe the leaders today do, for he & they remembered and know the words and warnings of Joseph, but he and they wanted the perks & priviledges of power, polygamy and evil and thus would and will not repent.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

It's too bad "Anonymous" above didn't notice the "Load More" option at the bottom of the page; he would have been able to find the comments he thought were deleted. Once 200 comments are received, the system continues them on another page.

It is my policy not to delete comments and I only have a handful of times when the writer was being deliberately vulgar. You certainly don't have to agree with me to have your voice heard here.

Sadly, "Anonymous" will not see this note unless he figures out how to turn the page, because this note, and his comment above will only be seen by those who click on the Load More option. And sadder still, it is impossible for the rest of us to know which comments he is referring to that he thought were deleted, because he failed to attach an identifying username to them. This is one of the reasons I prefer readers do not post anonymously.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Update: In my piece "Overruling Jesus" I finally did get around to defending God's badly maligned medicine commonly known as Marijuana. It can be found here:

Anonymous said...

This is why we have continuing revelation. Now is the time that we need to worry about, not what happened in other centuries. I have seen family members who have started with one beer a day become unable to function because of alcoholism. Maybe you should attend an AA meeting to see why the Lord advises us against drinking alcohol. The Word of Wisdom is meant for the weakest of us.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff here Rock. FWIW, I started this thread on LDSFF:


Anonymous said...

Thanks Rock. FWIW, I started this thread on LDSFF:


the_mormonion said...

Good point, Rock.

I, for one, am tired of the slippery slope argument that Anonymous makes here about beer. Does no one see the fatal flaw in this argument? Namely, that it is advocating Lucifer's premortal plan over God's?

To paraphrase Anonymous: The main reasons I don't agree with God's plan is: 1. It cuts a person off from the presence of God. 2. There is a good chance it could lead to sin and we are taught to be beholden to nothing but God. 3. It loosens a person's ability to have his choices made for him, leaving the door open for Satan to mislead.

Unknown said...

In answer to your original question. I suggest Guiness. On tap is best for sure. But if you must, buy it at the most any grocery store.

Anonymous said...

Malted barley is roasted and fermented to enhance the flavor.

Unknown said...

Try a polygamy porter, It should be right up your ally :)

Anonymous said...

I am a home brewer and student of that art and science. I make beer (specializing in British and pre-lager German ales), cider and mead. My first beer was a brown American ale and I was in my 30s. I absolutely loved it. It was very different from the excessive sweetness of Sprite, root beer, and ginger ale that I had grown up with. I also found I did not like the typical American pilsner because I did not like the tastes. Over time I have discovered, my palate was not used to the different tastes and their individual distinctive sensations, etc.

Hops are typically added for a couple of reasons. First, their bitterness helps offset the sweetness of the malt. Other plants like heather, yarrow, and spruce were used traditionally to help add bitterness, but hops were the most lasting. This is probably due to the second reason hops are used. They have antiseptic properties. If bacteria get into your beer, there are chemicals in the hops that coat and interfere with the cell walls of the organism, making it harder for it to divide. That added with the alcohol content and most bugs can not thrive in that environment.

Malt is made by soaking the grain, allowing it to germinate. This activates the enzyme in the seed (barley, wheat, rye, etc) that converts the starch storage into sugars (fuel for plant cells) like maltose (and others). The malted grain is then dried, and sometimes roasted (to add flavors and colors later) to stop the growing process. This allows the grain to be stored for longer than say bread.

The brewer takes the malted grain, according to their recipe, and add it to water heated to between 148F and 168F. This is called mashing (a little different than corn mash used to make whiskey). The temperature, or combination of temperatures controls which specific enzyme is activated, and which sugar molecules are produced. Some longer chain sugars can not be consumed by yeast cells, so they will leave a residual sweetness and "body" to the beer. If you force mostly shorter chains, the yeast will eat it all and produce a "dry" tasting product. At the end of the mash time, the brewer typically raises the temp to 170F (and no higher) to stop the enzyme activity. With temperatures above 170F, tannins and other astringent compounds will be extracted from the grain husk materials in the mash.

The brewer then boils the wort for at least an hour, adding hops to the boil at different stages and in different amounts according to the style and recipe. Boiling the hops releases alpha and beta acids, which isomerize due to the heat. This is what gives the beer the bitterness taste, and it is on purpose. British ales are typically low in bitterness, with the exception of India Pale Ales or IPAs. Shipping beer in a hot surface ship from England to India would result in the beer spoiling ultimately. If you super charge the hops, then the nasties can not take hold and the beer does not spoil as fast, but it remains a bit hoppy.

In colonial times, the water would often make you very sick and would probably kill you. Table beer and ciders were produced for everyday drinking, even by small children. The alcohol content was below 2% ABV (Alcohol by Volume - Utah law threashold is 3.2% Alcohol by Weight, which was often used for tax collection in days of yore. 3.2%ABW is about 4.0%ABV. When craft breweries publish their alcohol content, they usually use ABV. In England, the session type beer is often at around 2.5-3.5%ABV, and are a full tasting and not watered down product. The idea is, you can "stand a-round" of drinks with your mates at the pub (everyone buys a pint round of British bitter) and you can still walk home with little ill effects. If you tried to do that with the typical popular beer, you would be picking gravel out of your teeth the next morning.

Anonymous said...

Rock, try Redd's Apple Ale and any Lambic - Fruit style beer (Lindeman's or Timmerman's)

More fruit taste than beer taste, though the beer taste is still there, but much less so.

Very nice.


Anonymous said...

very interesting that helps me understand more that the church is quite...........well not what it says to be

The Arkwelder said...

Great article! I can't believe I haven't read it until now. I don't like beer either and can't acquire a taste for it no matter how hard I try.

I've had a hard time convincing my friends and family that I still follow the Word of Wisdom even though I drink the occasionally alcoholic beverage or cup of coffee. The key to remember here is that the Word of Wisdom is not some arbitrary "worthiness" test (something the LDS Church is so fond of; it's simply good, sound advice. It truly is a "Word of Wisdom"...not by way of commandment.

Thus, they key here is moderation, probably with a focus on eating healthy and living right. I don't say, "The WoW says to drink barley drinks, therefore I'm going to drink beer." Instead it means I drink occasionally (usually only on special occasions), and I avoid getting stupid drunk. A nice buzz is all I need.

Coffee is a little bit harder to justify, but I think we have to use our heads here, and once again remember that this is a "word of wisdom". This doesn't mean outright ignoring the WoW, but it does mean not looking at things in such black and white terms. If you drink coffee every day, it will turn you into a jittery mess. Over time it will have an adverse effect on your heart and overall health. However, I drink a coffee maybe once or twice a month, and honestly, it just feels kinda nice.

Lastly, it's about knowing yourself and remembering that caffeine and alcohol (and tobacco) are indeed addictive. Some people do require the strict abstinence from these substances that the LDS Church demands. With the exception of tobacco (cigarettes), however, that's a very small subset of the population.

I often say that the Word of Wisdom ruined the LDS Church. I say this because while Latter-day Saints used to be known for their polygamy (and still are, to a large extent), they are now known as as those people who don't drink coffee or alcohol--which is almost just as bad. I'd rather they be known as 'Saints', i.e., those who have committed themselves to following and 'being' Christ. However, I must add that the LDS Church had to ruin the Word of Wisdom before the Word of Wisdom could ruin the LDS Church.

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point when it comes to alcohol. It's no secret that alcohol causes loads of problems in the world today. How many families have been destroyed by alcohol? How many stupid decisions were made while under its influence? My best friend was killed by a drunken driver. Another good friend is now paralyzed due to a drunken accident- he was drinking beer. I have two uncles who let alcohol destroy their lives and consequently their families- both of their drinks of choice was beer, rather than hard liquor.

I agree that a brew a day probably isn't a bad thing, in fact I think I'd rather enjoy it. However I believe the word of wisdom is in place to protect us from all of the evils caused by alcohol. Sometimes The Lord asks us to give up some things in order to protect us from greater evils and/or bless us. A good example of this is the law of chastity- Sex is awesome and has been proven to be great for your health. However he asks us to refrain from having sex outside of marriage. Sure plenty of people have promiscuous sex with little or no consequences- but i think we've all had a few friends who found a bun in the oven before they were ready.

And I'm sure we all think the same thing- oh that wouldn't happen to me, I'm not stupid. Well, I'm sure neither of my uncles saw themselves becoming alcoholics and destroying their families.After watching two families close to me degrade due to my uncles alcoholism I feel grateful that I don't have to ever worry about that happening in my life.

Also, I do believe that the word of wisdom was indeed made to be a commandment, I believe under Joseph F Smith, though I'd definitely have to do some fact-checking on that. I just remembering reading about it years ago.

Sorry if this isn't the most articulate comment, I'm writing it on my phone.

-Chris L.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Chris, the problems you describe with alcohol result from people using it for other than its proper use. It should be seen akin to a medicine or nutrient and used sparingly, not something imbibed in at parties. And of course drinking and driving is bound to result in a different outcome than having a pint of beer at the end of the day at home to unwind.

Not all alcohol is the same. The word of wisdom makes the distinction between strong spirits and fermented drinks. I know members who refuse to use herbal tinctures because they contain alcohol necessary for the extraction of the chemicals in the herbs. A couple of droppersful of tincure contains less alcohol than a bananan, yet these same people see nothing wrong with eating a banana. So wisdom is required.

I'll have to disagree with you about the word of wisdom being made a commandment. No president of the Church has the authority to change the scripture. It can only be superseded by God in the form of a new revelation. If you know of such a revelation, I'd like to see it. In the meantime, we had best read the scripture as it is written and not try to glom our own prejudices onto it.

Anon 23 said...

Wow Rock, your statement should be set in stone, "No President of the Church (or any true Prophet who ever lived) has the authority to change the scriptures."

Prophets are to 'lead us to Christ' & his words, not change them & lead us to follow them instead.

We will know true prophets & disciples of Christ, yesterday, today & forever, because they will preach the 'words of Christ', with exactness.

I wish more people would realize that very vital truth. It would clear up most falsehoods & deceptions that abound today in & out of the Church.

But it seems most everyone doesn't mind if leaders do the thinking for them & change scripture, for most people just seem to want to blindly follow so they don't have to go to the effort to think, study & discern truth for themselves.

No wonder Joseph taught that those who are deceived by the craftiness of men & false prophets will lose their Exaltation, for allowing ourselves to be 'deceived' seems to be a choice.

Unknown said...

Just saw this video on youtube about the process and ingredients that go into making beer, thought people here would be interested.

czimm said...


czimm said...

Love it. I love reading stuff that makes me grin.

I really enjoyed the following post over at ldsanarchy a while ago, and had a great giggle over the conclusion:

Good stuff! I get really excited over ideas that wipe out our LDS tendency to act like Pharisees. I haven't actually decided to...well, explore the beer issue myself (although the hubs likes to make jokes about what we should do for date night, I think my enjoyment of Denver Snuffer's writings may get me in enough trouble without throwing beer into the mix), but I get a huge kick out of these discussions.

BTW, if I remember correctly, my convert husband would recommend Dogfish Head? What a name...

Edwin Wilde said...

@ Janice and Anonymous:
Matthew 23: 1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Our modern day leaders sit in Joseph's seat. That which they bid you observe, that observe and do.

Edwin WIlde said...

Janice, I don't question your information but I am unfamiliar with it. Where I could research your suggestion that hot drinks were in direct reference to Hot alcoholic beverages?

Edwin Wilde said...

Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Our modern day leaders sit in Joseph's seat. That which they bid you observe, that observe and do.

Edwin Wilde said...

Off-topic comment-
That reminds me of the story (probably fabricated but good nonetheless) of J. Golden Kimball sitting in a coffee shop in Salt Lake City, drinking coffee while reading his morning newspaper.
In walks a man who saw him from off the street. The man walks straight up to J. Golden Kimball and berates him for drinking coffee and in conclusion states, "I'd rather commit adultery than be found drinking coffee." To which J. Kimball retorted: "Well hell; who wouldn't?"

NewConvert101 said...

Hi Rock-

Try the Belgian Lambic in Raspberry flavor (Lindemans Framboise). The peach is also a good choice. It’s socially considered to be a “girly beer” and also sometimes referred to as “hummingbird water” if you order it at a bar, but I have to admit that I was a beer snob before converting to the LDS faith about 2 years ago, and this one is undoubtedly my favorite. Its brew contains about 70% barley malt and 30% unmalted wheat. It also contains a little less alcohol content than other darker brews. It’s a bit more expensive that your typical American “rice” beers (which aren’t even worth your $0.99 to me, but hey, to each his own), but the Lambic is well worth the extra cost in my eyes. The taste at first is more the berry flavor, but the end of the sip gives you the mild hops flavor as well. If you’ve never tried beer before in your life, this one is a good intro. FYI, this imported beer can also be difficult to find. My second favorite beer is the Guiness, a richer, much darker brew pretty much on the other end of the spectrum than the Lambic. But, still a quality and smooth choice in my opinion.

Your blog is so refreshing in so many ways. Last week I was researching the easiest way to resign from the LDS church and now this week I have a renewed sense of commitment after reading your blog. Since I have joined the LDS church, I have waxed and waned with the LDS faith. I absolutely love my Methodist roots, and always will. In my Methodist church growing up, the focus was on YOUR OWN interpretation of the Holy Bible after scripture study and meaningful prayer. Our reverend was there for guidance, but the overall opinion was very much open-minded, much like their slogan “Open hearts, open minds, open doors.” The center of the religion is Jesus Christ, and the overall goal above else is to try to become more and more Christ-like in your words, actions, and thoughts every day. No temples, no tithing a fixed percentage (it was a free-will offering in which people didn’t pressure you to pay it or a yearly settlement; you just gave what you could and that was that), no garments, no 3-hr meetings, no home teaching, no separation of men/women in regards to priesthood, no tearing down other religions in order to bolster LDS doctrine, no “this church is true” instead of “the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true” etc., etc. Needless to say, this conversion has been a huge change and struggle for me with both amazingly beautiful moments and incredibly long moments of sorrow and agony. Also, when LDS teachers mix their own feelings with doctrine during lessons, it can be hard for a new convert to decipher what the doctrine IS and what is merely opinion.

One year ago I married the most wonderful man, who I knew then and know now is my soulmate. He was raised in the LDS faith, and is probably the most faithful Mormon I know when it comes to every principle, rule, commandment, etc, and helped me though every missionary lesson and even sang at my LDS baptism. He is someone I look up to, and also someone who believes in exact, unquestioning obedience. Exact obedience works for him, but it does not work so well for me.

Your blog has inspired me to start personalizing the LDS faith, much like I had personalized the Methodist faith. In my eyes, the worst feeling that you can have (besides regret) is trying to be someone that you are not. At many times I felt as though I have been pushing my round spirit into a square hole, often feeling suffocated by all these new rules, especially when preparing to go the temple. And the more I try to push myself to fit, the more I push back, just screaming to be…me.

I prayed to know to join the LDS church 2 years ago, and I cannot deny the answer that I received. So I know that I must be here, as a newfound Mormon. Now I just need to personalize this faith by taking it to God and at first, making it more bearable, and second, maybe start enjoying it again a little. THANK YOU for giving me the tools so I can start this new process.


NewConvert101 said...

Hopefully this link will post for the Lambic suggestion:

This beer chart may be helpful to you. I even learned some things I didn’t know either!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The kind words expressed by folks like you are what give me encouragement to keep going. Thank you.

Someone else some time back recommended that Lambic Raspberry beer. After trying several brands suggested by faithful readers and not caught the vision, I'd pretty much resigned my self to giving up the quest. But since this Lambic brand is supported from the mouth of two witnesses, maybe I'll dive in one more time.

As for your wonderful hubby, maybe you can find a post here on this site that you can recommend to him that coincides with your view of things so that he can better understand that you are not apostatizing; you're simply trying to be the best REAL Mormon you can be. Perhaps if you two can discuss something you have read here you can begin to find common ground.

Thanks for writing!

NewConvert101 said...

Thank you for your reply, Rock.

I will definitely share some of your blog postings with him, so he can better understand where I am coming from. One of the major things that I need to keep in mind though, is that although my husband’s way of worship does not work for me, I still need to RESPECT his way of exact obedience and drop any expectation for him to concede to my personal beliefs and my personalization of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bold, right?!

If I am ever going to expect him to respect my own views, then this respect must be mutual. I think this will be a life-long process for us both, but ultimately a good and challenging one- requiring both our minds and hearts to be open to each others’ ideas and agreeing to disagree if necessary. As much as I would LOVE for him to start questioning and reading/researching for himself and taking those questions to God for answers instead of exact unquestioning obedience of church leadership, I feel that any disrespect on my part would take away from the very essence that is uniquely…him. Much like how exact obedience takes away from the very essence that is uniquely me. It is his decision to worship Christ in the way he so chooses, as it is my own decision as well. At the end of the day, I believe that true love is helping your spouse be the best individual that THEY can be. I think the world would be a happier place if only we (all people, regardless of religious beliefs) were more tolerant and respectful despite disagreements.

Anonymous said...

Rock- Ok, I have one for you. Redd's apple ale. So, I read your post a month or so ago. I haven't been able to stomach the other crap either. My husband thoroughly enjoys his beer...might need to work on the moderation part...haha. Anyway, I had decided I would rather not drink than try to choke down beer. He brought home Redd's apple ale and it is wonderful! They have a strawberry ale too. My kind of mild drink. :)

Anonymous said...

The first beer I ever tried and liked was this Lambic Framboise Beer (see image: I still don't care much for your average beer, but hefeweizen or most wheat beers are not bad. Hard ciders are good too. I recently tried a sour beer, which is becoming all the rage here, and it was pretty good. I live in Portland (a.k.a. beervana) so the selection here is astounding.

Anonymous said...


Although I agree with your interpretation of the word of wisdom, the point about the temple recommend interview is one I can't quite get behind. I don't remember for sure, but don't they call out alcohol specifically in the temple recommend interview questions, when talking about the w.o.w. ? In other words, although the word of wisdom differentiates between beer and strong drink, the temple interview does not, if I'm not mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Malted Barley is sprouted barley which changes the carbohydrates into a more fermentable form. Malt o meal is malted barley. I once asked a Church leader about the word of wisdom and the pro scribing og mild drink from barley which to me meant mildly fermented beer , but the response I got was that it meant postum which was a drink made from roasted barley to be more like a decaffeinated coffee. I don't think postum was available as such in Jo Smiths time.

Unknown said...

Can someone tell me which verse of D&C 89 "moderation" is used or even referred to?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well by golly, Mook, looks like I've been wrong about that. I confess I thought that phrase was in section 89; turns out it's nowhere in the D&C at all.

Just goes to show we can't trust our conditioning. And here I am lecturing others for not having ever read the D&C. I've read it and put words into it that were not there.

From what I can determine, this teaching originated with Aristotle and is reflected in Buddhism as the middle way. It's scripture alright. Just not Mormon scripture.

Thanks for pointing that out, Mook.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't waste time with mass-produced crap from Coors, Miller, Budweiser and the like. Find a microbrewery pub, order a flight of beer (several small samples), from light to dark, along with some tasty pub food (should be salty, which will make you thirstier for the beer), and sip away. It most definitely is an acquired taste. Cold beer is great when you're hot and thirsty, by the way. I seldom drink it anymore, and when we have a beer occasionally, that's one between us. Also, cannabis is also excellent for relaxation and stress release, as well as other more medicinal effects. Needn't be combined with beer drinking.

Nicole said...

Beer is an acquired taste. Once you acquire it, you'll enjoy more of them. I'm sure this has been discussed many times over, but there are too many comments for me to scroll through. I began drinking in my twenties and found that really light beers were the most palatable. Then I began to appreciate stouts like Guinness. Stella Artois is a great-tasting light beer.

Thanks for posting this. I've been thinking about these same discrepancies for many years now and was surprised to find that other Mormons have been as frustrated and as confused as I've felt about the way parts of the WoW are ignored and others are ballooned way beyond proportion. Seems to me that eating too much meat is a much greater offense than drinking a beer, since meat requires the slaughter of another animal and in today's world with the abundance of food, that slaughter seems rather wonton.

I read this the other day and was surprised to see that WebMD lists so many positive health aspects of beer.

Anonymous said...

Try Redd's apple ale. It actually tastes REALLY REALLY good! Not just tolerable, but delicious! Kind of like a martinellies sparkling cider!
Sorry, dont know the ingredients.

Unknown said...

There's another benefit to beer that a lot of people probably don't know.

When I was nursing my son, there was a question of whether or not I was producing enough milk. I learned that I could struggle, or drink a beer - it stimulates milk production (most other alcohol reduces it), and the alcohol is minimal enough that there aren't adverse effects on the baby. I chose the beer option.

I had no clue what I was doing when it came to beer, so I went and bought a bunch of singles, took them home, and tried them. My brother suggested adding a squeeze of lemon to improve palatability if I needed to (I did at first).

Something I learned during the experience: quash the fear of asking. It is extremely intimidating to admit your ignorance, especially when that ignorance is derived from a belief that something is bad and wrong. But people are totally willing to give you answers if you ask them.

So here are some answers to questions I've seen in the comments...

On malt... Malting just means that they soaked the grain in water, then dried it back out again. They do this because it gets the grain into sprouting mode, which changes the seeds (they go from being starchy to being sweeter).

On barley... Most beers have a base of malted barley. Other grains are frequently added because it changes the final product. The beers that won't have a base of malted barley are the gluten-free ones.

On Hard Lemonade... Malt liquor is a drink made with malted barley that may or may not be distilled in order to increase the alcohol content (there's no standard legal definition of the term, so it may mean something - or nothing at all). Beer has an average alcohol content of about 5%. Malt liquor is around 7%. Alcohol in the US is required to have the percentage on the bottle, so just look for it.

On cider... Hard ciders are not necessarily made with barley. They could be fermented fruit. Ask, or look for the "malted beverage" on the label. There are plenty of beers with fruit added (and weird things like chocolate!).

On tannins... It's a pile of justification with little basis in fact. Tannic acid is the commercial name for a specific tannin - and is generally from trees, not food. Tea doesn't contain tannic acid, but it does contain tannins... And so do cranberries, blueberries, chocolate, walnuts, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, kidney beans (and on and on). If tannins were important to God, He'd probably have prohibited more things that contain them.


I'm sure there's probably lots more info that I've left out, but this will have to do for now. I love the blog. :)

Withac said...

In Elders Quorum when the W of W came up and the expected "Oh indeed to quit drinking Dr. Pepper"comments came up I pointed out there is more caffeine in a cup of hot chocolate than a cup of decaf. I also pointed out the part about grains or barley being for drink and commented that I knew of only one drink made from barley. Good times.

Karen Yeates said...

I think my husband just found his first bro-mance. He has been preaching all of this for years...just not so eloquently. In his opinion, the Canadians beers are the best. They are easy to drink and are crisp and clean. He thinks you shoudl try a Labatts Blue (brown bottle), Molson Canadian or Yuenling. They are lagers/pilsners and are brewed without wheat.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Karen, I'd love to meet your husband for a beer, but as you know, I can't stand the taste of the stuff. Let him know I'm happy to have found a kindred spirit.

Sandra said...

Enjoyed the post, but feel many have missed an essential element of what started this inquiry to begin with: "I read something in a newsletter by a very Godly natural health expert whose opinion I had
always trusted. This author is read by religiously hard-core vegans and food purists who strive at putting only pure raw foods into their bodies and avoiding all harmful substances in their search for both physical and spiritual perfection. He told his readers that most of them were neglecting an essential nutrient that God had provided for thousands of years: Beer. More particularly, fermented hops, an essential ingredient in beer. "
You will not find these “purists” drinking a can of beer! As soon as you bottle or even worse can your beer (, you no longer have a "pure raw food," nor do you have a beer that Joseph Smith would recognize. Remember that the Lord was warning us about "the evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days...." Beer is big business, and the company producing it is more concerned about their bottom line than yours. US labeling laws do not require breweries to list ingredients for beer- so they don't. However, one internet site claims the following: "For your information: Miller Lite contains propylene glycol alginate, water, barley malt, corn syrup, chemically modified hop extracts, yeast, amyloglucosidase, carbon dioxide, papain enzyme, liquid sugar, potassium metabisulfite, and Emka-malt." (for a list of legal additives in beer:
If we are using the times of Joseph Smith as a benchmark for the Word of Wisdom, then ingredients, brewing and distribution methods familiar to the day must certainly be considered in the equation. And it is not just what has been added, what has been taken away is probably worse. Pasteurized and filtered drinks are only only a shadow of the real thing. Modern processing fundamentally alters their composition and eliminates myriad living components which make it beneficial for the body. Most beer sold in the US is filtered and pasteurized. For those touting the health benefits of drinking beer, only a freshly brewed "living" drink can justifiably qualify, otherwise the health benefits are seriously lacking.
The recent renewed interest in local micro-breweries and artisan brews is a positive move. All in all, you should brew your own or find a local live brew. At the very least, know your source. (for a list of unpasteurized beers see:
As has been mentioned in previous comments, there are other mild barley drinks that the Saints were definitely familiar with, particularly, fermented barley water. It is currently referred to as "rejuvalac" among the health food folks. Also, consider the unpleasant taste a deterrent to over consumption :)
I believe a traditional, unprocessed approach to mild drinks (as well as most other foods, including milk) is more in keeping with the information found in your health newsletter, and is more in keeping with the spirit and intent of the word of wisdom.
Finally, if you haven't already seen it, there was an interesting discussion about meat on Rob's blog

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for that important information, Sandra. It's bad enough to learn most beers are pasteurized, because that certainly removes live enzymes and other important nutrients.

But finding out beer contains Glycol and high fructose corn syrup also gives me pause.

It looks as though if I ever do learn to like the stuff, I'm going to also have to learn to brew my own.

Thanks for that heads up.

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Niki said...

First - don't believe everything you read on the internet. ALWAYS do your own research until you have sources you can trust.

Second - Most Mormons who start drinking - for whatever personal reasons they have - don't like typical alcoholic drinks. Mormons from birth are fed nothing but sugary drinks - from cow's milk, to Kool-Aid, to soda of all kinds, and on and on and on. Very little of what I grew up drinking wasn't sweetened in some way. It took me (and most others I know) many years to like anything that wasn't super sweet, or hard liquor added to something super sweet. Beer and wine are typically not sweet. They're not supposed to be. And, conversely, there are almost as many kinds of beer as there are people, and many of them are sweet, or sweeter than others.

You might try the Redd's Apple Ale - which has been suggested by others here, and which I also endorse. You might also like a shandy, which is a mix half-and-half of beer with lemonade - very common in England.
Redd's is a brewed ale with apple flavor and some added caramel color - so it may not meet your requirements for a true beer.
This shandy I've heard good things about but haven't tried myself - yet. It's a true beer with lemonade added. A wheat beer with pale barley.

Malt drinks - like Mike's, Bartles and Jaymes, joose, etc are not beers. They typically have a similar alcohol content to beer, but are ridiculously sweet and are made by mixing the alcohol with other ingredients to end up with something more like an alcoholic soda or kool-aid.

I hear, tho haven't tried (yet!), that SLC is getting more micro-breweries and such all over the valley. I second the suggestion to go and try a flight or two. Get to know the brewmaster and the bartenders. They'll be able to make recommendations and teach you how to drink beer. IT WILL TAKE TIME. It will take patience. You may decide in the end that you really, truly don't and will never like beer. I really, truly, do not like bananas and chardonnay. No matter how many times I try them, in different forms, I just do not like them. It happens.

Some days, I really wish I could move to SLC and teach Mormons (believing and willing to experiment, jack, and ex) how to drink. How to pair alcohol with food. How to find your personal limits and learn moderation. Offer lots of different options to try and taste.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome. I always found it frustrating that- as a vegetarian (who doesn't really do it for moral reasons and seriously can care less if you eat a steak in front of me I don't judge you so stop judging me FFS) many of my family and friends in the Church act as though I'm some sort of liberal heathen Other (i kinda am). I always try to point out that, in reality, the WOW says to eat meat sparingly. I don't point this out judging them, just trying to get them to see that they cherry-pick the rules to apply to themselves and still seem able to judge others who follow different rules. Also, I don't think caffeine has never been explicitly banned. However, when "hot drinks" were later revealed to be coffee & tea, we then took this like the Pharisees we can be sometimes and applied it to all caffeine.

Culturally, we eat meat at almost every meal and think a sip of regular Dr. Pepper is french kissing the Devil, both of which are in no way teachings of the WOW.

The truth is, this ISN'T for a lack of reading D&C. I don't know about you guys, but we definitely read these words in seminary and sunday school and always with an uncomfortable "well things are different now, erm... that was written when meat was erm... you know, something that could go bad or hard to get, erm...we can eat meat. But we should always be moderate in all things... yeah.." Once again, I don't judge my bros & sis who eat meat, even if eaten excessively cause I just don't care what others do. But I LOVE that you point this whole thing out. Perhaps we should read and maybe use this god given gift of a brain from time to time. Or better yet- just stop judging.

Stray Dogg said...

Uinta or Wasatch Kolsch style ales, Sam Adams Summer Lager, Wasatch First Ammendment Lager, Alameda Siskiyou Golden Ale,or get yourself a shandy or Shofferhofer (50% beer 50% juice rather than distilled "hard" juice drinks like hard lemonade.)

Anonymous said...

An interesting article. I have long said (to close family, not in church) that the word of wisdom (wow) mention beer as acceptable, and that I see the word of wisdom as a guide and not a commandment. However, I do hold a temple recommendation and abide by the wow as preached in church today. I do love beer and drink it regularly, but that is the non alcoholic version. Several brands have non-alcoholic beers available where I live (scandinavia). So I can have my beer and still keep the wow ;)

Scottieb said...

Your insights and explanation on so many subjects is refreshing. Thank you for your time and research, not to mention willingness to enlighten others to the truth.

This post reminds me of one of my favorite jokes told to me by a non-member coworker years ago.

Q: How do you keep a Mormon from drinking all your beer when you go camping?

A: Bring another Mormon.

Thank you again.

JonP said...

Scottieb - I heard this same joke from a non-member coworker. I wonder if it was the same person!

Rock, You words inspire me and this is a topic that I have always wondered about. I am a convert to the church, and love the taste of beer. I especially enjoy dark beers such as stouts and porters. I appreciate you taking the time to dive into these not so gray areas. Stay strong my friend, and keep on blogging!

here for the ride said...

I know this is an old thread but I feel like I must contribute. I have never been one to simply take someone's word as the gospel truth. Because of this I have been both blessed and cursed for my experimentation. Ten years ago following what seemed at the time to be a soul crushing divorce, in my defiance of God and what I was made to endure I began using spit tobacco. The battle that ensued was equivalent to my own Goliath. For 7 years I struggled to free myself from the substance that held me bound, in the end I emerged victorious and will never let that demon enter my body. So, moral of the story, is tobacco a wicked and defiling weed? No. After countless hours of reflection, I found that my problem was that the time and energy I devoted to getting my nicotine fix was impairing my ability to serve those I loved most. I know other LDS folks who do use tobacco in moderation and have done so for a number of years without becoming addicted. Although the result of my experiment was a hard won battle I am greatful to have had such an experience.

Brother Waterman, as far as beer is concerned, on occasion I like to relax with a "Hop Rising" beer from Squatters brewery. If you enjoy the bitterness of hops I wholeheartedly recommend it.

I leave you with a verse that changed my life from being critical of those who are managing God's church at present, to seeking the face of my Savior.

Helaman 5:47

Anonymous said...

The Word of Wisdom never was just about "NO coffee, tea, tobacco or alcohol." That is a farce and a reduction of the real thing which has a few basic elements but was given as warning of those who would take over our food and medicine in the last days (drugs and surgery instead of food and herbs - ETERNAL and thus unpatented truth of REAL healing and good health - today's doctors and drugs do NOT heal, Satan and his cleaver and attractive Gadiantons never did and never will), the AMA, FDA, APA (verse 4 IS the whole reason, the crux of the WoW.

Furthermore the WoW gives exceptions to a couple of normally bad things for us and tells how they are sometimes otherwise used properly for our health and well being. It does not and cannot list thousands or millions of items and how they are each used for for health or for destruction to our bodies, minds and spirits.

In verse 2 it says it is not given as commandment nor by constraint (coercion, guilt, shame...). And it is tied up in the last four verses with four really nice promises, IF we CHOOSE to use our agency (and minds) to embrace the Spirit to show us the real meaning and choose only by agency (not by Satan's force or coercion/constraint...) to follow it.

Christ teaches in all of our scriptures that blessings (including those four really nice promises) cannot be received unless we use our agency to gladly choose to do good. Church (the corporation wagging the gospel) of coercion, guilt and shame is not following Christ, at least not in any of those ways that it contradicts Christ and puts contradictory words in His mouth. Neither Christ , God nor the Spirit contradict themselves, but man in his own "wisdom" does.

Virtually all of our WoW instruction today comes from man, not from the Spirit or the words actually spelled out in the Word of Wisdom.

Rethink and pray about (Moroni 10:5-19 which goes hand in hand with D&C 89:4 = Ether 8:24)the real and plain meaning of the WoW. It was given to warn us, as it says so plainly in verse 4, not to get sucked into all the horrible processed fake and toxic foods and additives (served at every ward dinner...), and fake forced medical BS developed by the "wisdom" of man today and soley endorsed and approved by corporate govt and across the pulpit regularly, as prophesied in so many places (2 Nephi 28, Matt 7:15, Isaiah 5:20 and so on...)

These approved toxic foods and forced medicine are literally run by the Gadiantons who named themselves for what they are, the FDA so clearly warned about in D&C 89:4 = Ether 8:24. Verse 4 is a warning of the corrution of food and drugs run by Gadiantons that will take down your health. It is not about beer. Yes, beer can indeed by used very unwisely. Why does the corporate church (which often wags the gospel) have stock in such toxic foods and beverages?

Diet Mountain Dew is far more toxic to the body than beer, tobacco, tea and coffee all rolled into one. If we think that 4-don'ts ARE the WoW, then we are sadly led carefully and cleverly down to hell in chains.

And that one drink (Diet Mt Dew) is just the tip of this whole real Word of Wisdom debacle. But then we have endless processed foods (not just toxic sugar), additives, GMO foods, etc and all prescription drugs which violate the true spirit and warning of the WoW. It does warn us of these, even though it does not spell them all out by name, it says exactly what it needs to say, IF you will seek the spirit in reading it and not justify all the crap you eat, drink and take for "medicine."

Odysseus said...

I am the sunday school president in my ward, I am super active, very religious, speak in church, share the gospel, do my home teaching, love temple worship, and I also love beer. It was something I picked up in graduate school, I did a PhD at a fancy ivy league school that loved to inflict stress. I shared my revelations with many of the undergraduates in my branch until one of them ratted me out to the bishop. I had had conversations with him about my love of beer and he replied he wished he shared my interpreation of the WoW bc he loved beer before he converted. After I corrupted the youth he no longer asked, "Do you obey the word of wisdom?" He asked more directly, "Do you drink beer." I promised to obey while I lived in the branch and quickly returned to my beer drinking when I moved back west to California. I love beer so much that I almost moved to Belgium to become a brewmaster. Beer is beautiful and it helps me feel God's love. I yearn for the day when I can drink beer with my friends at an elders quorum party or even just invite someone over to watch BYU football and have a cold one. For now, I am content to share my esoteric sipping with my wife.

Jeff Peterson said...

An excellent piece,
This definitely gives me a new perspective on the Word of Wisdom, and distances me even FURTHER from the cultural clusterfrack we call the corporate LDS church. I do however hesitate to accept this counsel, even if it is from the Lord. Here is my reasoning. The church has become an authoritatively punishing, and regulatory institution in my life, not very different than the police, and I'm not very fond of either institution's approach to getting me to do the "right thing". I do however love to attend the temple, and my temple recommend is subject to question,not only for violating the scriptural teaching in D&C 89, but the True to the faith version of the WoW as well. I could be dishonest to what I know my bishop defines as the WoW, and obtain a recommend on the scriptures only explanation elaborated in the blog post. But even this would feel like a stretch to my integrity. Same seems to go for issues and definitions regarding chastity, tithing, ect. I hope for a day when we can stop fearing each other, and drop all the pretense of what makes a good mormon, while we strive to all live the gospel more fully. In the same manner don't appreciate the guns of government, I don't appreciate having my spiritual growth and temple worship held hostage by corporate rule instead of prophetic revelation, even if it all boils down to the cognitive dissonance in my head.

Anonymous said...

While this comment comes very late to the thread, I can't help but be puzzled. With this and other articles of a similar nature which try and find justification for present actions in the words of past prophets and apostles, I always ask myself, "Why belong to a living church with modern prophets and apostles who speak to our contemporary circumstances if you do not intend to obey them?" As one example (from many) of a modern commandment against alcohol, see Gordon B. Hinckley, "Be Ye Clean," General Conference, May 1996. Regardless of whether or not beer is included in "mild drinks" (a claim which I find unsupported in Bro. Waterman's article) the issue at hand is not whether or not something listed or not listed in the Word of Wisdom is healthy; the Word of Wisdom is divine "principle with a promise"--the issue is spiritual well-being, not merely physical (see D&C 29:34-35).

It's further troubling to see such a reliance on outdated historical analysis when more current analysis is available. If we really desire to know our history as members of this church and what weight that history bears on our current understanding of doctrines and principles, ought we not to be more diligent and honest in our study? And shouldn't our study into history focus on that which is most recent, and leave in the past arguments that have been settled or dismissed. For an academic and current analysis of the history of the word of wisdom, see Paul Y. Hoskisson, "The Word of Wisdom in Its First Decade," The Journal of Mormon History 38, no 1, 131-200.

While I agree with the premise that all of us are imperfect to differing degrees and thus cannot take up the gavel against any of our peers, I wholeheartedly disagree with the current trend of swallowing and parroting back old, false, and misleading interpretations of past revelations to justify modern disobedience. Laziness makes us turn to the internet, find someone who sounds semi-well-spoken and has written something germane to the topic, and follow them as authority. "Pure Mormonism", instead, turns us to those authorized to declare doctrine, principle, and yes, behavior and, if greater context is desired, those who honestly, effectively, and skillfully research the history of the church.

If you desire a church that is less invasive, that lacks modern revelation which demands from us sacrifice, humility, repentance, and progression, you are looking at the wrong church. Said Elder Holland in this last (April 2014) General Conference, "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. Talk about man creating God in his own image! … It is obvious that the bumper sticker question ‘What would Jesus do?’ will not always bring a popular response."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous asks a pertinent question: "Why belong to a living church with modern prophets and apostles who speak to our contemporary circumstances if you do not intend to obey them?"

But has the Lord commanded us to obey modern prophets, or are we to obey Him? And if Him, why do the Modern prophets never provide revelations that would supersede His old commandments?

I can find nowhere in scripture where we are commanded to obey the prophets. We are taught to "heed their words" which means "to give careful consideration."

But are we to heed their words when they speak their own opinions, or are we to heed their words when they are speaking in God's name and with his voice?

I maintain it is not enough for a living prophet to provide us with his opinion. His job is to provide us with God's opinion, and to do so in a way that makes it clear he is speaking the words the Lord has put into his mouth (Deuteronomy 18:18) according to the pattern given us through Joseph Smith.

Many of the concerns this commenter has were directly addressed in a subsequent post, "Follow the Prophet: True or False" including this challenge from another reader:

"You are taking scripture and mixing it with the philosophies of men. You are looking at section 89 and YOU are deciding what it means. We have a living prophet on the earth today. What do you think he would say if you asked him whether or not you are living the Word of Wisdom by drinking beer?"

My answer to that question can be found here:

As for the quote provided from Jeffrey Holland, I believe an adequate response to that conference talk can be found in the guest post by Cate, "Uncomfortable God" found here:

Welcome to the pure doctrines of Christ, my friend. I hope you find much here that will edify you. If you find something written on this blog contrary to the word of God or doctrinally incorrect, I hope you will point it out so that corrections can be made.

Differences of opinion are also welcome, but I don't feel that opinions of men offered absent revelation trump the revealed word that has previously been been given to us from the mouth of God.

Anonymous said...

And yet, name for me your favorite phrase in the scriptures that comes directly from the mouth of God. Find the "purest" teaching from the pen of Jesus himself? Unless you possess books I do not, this task is impossible for the simple truth that the gospel as we know it comes from the mouths and pens of authorized testators. Hence, "The gospel according to Matthew/Mark/Luke/John", the epistles of Paul, the writings of Peter and John, the sermons of King Benjamin and Alma and Moroni all are God's word through the mouths of his chosen and anointed. Certain is the point that an apostle or prophet's responsibility is to honor that calling and witness of only the things of God and we are to follow them, not because of their own worth, but because of their calling and responsibility to witness of Him whose church this is. But we can make no mistake my friend, we are commanded in those same scriptures to follow the prophets and apostles--in the OT from the words of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:20; in the NT from Paul's wonderful epistle to the Ephesians, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:8-16; from the Book of Mormon, The Savior's own command in 3 Ne 25:3; and in the Lord's preface to the Doctrine and Covenants in Section 1:37-38, and in many other places.

The question is not whether or not we can return to "pure Mormonism" or even "pure Christianity" but whether we accept the prophets and apostles of today as successors to the responsibilities of Moses, Abraham, Peter, John, Nephi, Alma, Moroni, and Joseph Smith. Christ helps us come unto the Father; the words of His chosen prophets and apostles coupled with our own covenant life directed by the Spirit bring us closer to Christ.

I do not intend to return to your blog--I love the desire you and others express to focus us on Christ, but I tire of the argument that the prophets and apostles of today are attempting to lead us astray. I understand better Nephi's mourning over his brethren who refused to be led to the tree of life by the rod of iron, yes, but also refused first the invitation of their father, the prophet.

I love my Father and worship Him in the name and through the grace of His beloved Son, my Savior. This is the foundation of my testimony and the rock of my life. I came to this Church much later in life, and that gained knowledge and testimony of the Father and Son changed me forever. I likewise learned through harsh comparison a life without prophetic guidance versus a life with it. I know Thomas Monson has been chosen by Jesus Christ, as He chose Peter of old, to lead the Church closer to the Father. I sustain President Monson, his counselors, the apostles, and other general authorities and church leaders because their teachings fill me with power, love for God, and a desire to come closer to Him. I sustain them because I know through their guidance I can love and serve Him better.

Good luck in all your future endeavors. May the Spirit confirm to you what it has so often and in so many ways confirmed to me—pure Mormonism is not just to follow Christ but to choose to be led by Him through the methods He chooses and to the places He desires.

BK said...

Anonymous 2:52,

I believe there is a huge difference between 'The Gospels' (the words of Christ) and everything else ever written by men who profess to be prophets.

The Gospels are supposedly the word's of Christ, a God, while everything else in the scriptures was written by fallible men, even if they were prophets.

For even true prophets preach some truth and some error, for they are mortal. But Christ was perfect.

I have not found any error in the teachings of Christ, even if they were recorded by men, they appear to be far superior & true then any other teachings from mere mortals, even prophets.

Much, if not most, of the rest of the New & Old Testament and the BoM, D&C, etc, is riddled with error and falsehoods and the doctrines of men. There are far to many falsehoods in the rest of all scriptures to ever trust them to be true, UNLESS they teach the same things as Christ did.

Christ said only trust those who preach & keep his commandments and have Christlike love. I don't believe any prophet or leader in the LDS Church fits that bill.

I do not find any proof anywhere that Christ called Pres. Monson or Brigham or even Joseph Smith to be a prophet or to lead his church. I do not believe they follow the teachings of Christ and prove with their 'fruit' that they are true prophets & disciples of Christ, in fact quite the contrary.

Christ said to prove people 1st before accepting or trusting their claim to be prophets or listening to a word they say.

Anyone can say they are a prophet, anyone can claim revelations, visions and visitations from God, that is nothing new and actually quite common all through history, even today, but few today or ever have ever proven they are true disciples of Christ by the way they teach, live and love.

The only scriptures we can trust are the words of Christ in the 'Gospels', if they are in error then we have nothing and everyone is on their own to find the truth directly from God.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Are you unaware of the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants?

Although it is helpful to go back to the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, those messages were not what I was referring to when speaking of "modern revelation."

These statements from the mind of the Lord are the most recent words we have given to us from the mouth of God, and they remain the pattern required when considering any further revelation as legitimate. You say, "The question is... whether we accept the prophets and apostles of today as successors to the responsibilities of Moses, Abraham, Peter, John, Nephi, Alma, Moroni, and Joseph Smith"

Well, Joseph Smith gave us the pattern by which revelations are received and conveyed to the members. Unless someone purporting to be a modern day prophet provides us with the words of the Lord as conveyed through him, we are not actually receiving any prophecies or revelations, are we?

Have we received wise counsel and valid teachings from these men? On many occasions, yes. But to equate a conference talk read from a teleprompter with an actual revelation from the mouth of God is a bit of a stretch in my book. In all the citations you provided, I have yet to see any place where God commanded us to follow a prophet. That we are to "give heed to his words" I agree, as give heed means to consider carefully. We are NOT instructed to follow or obey him, and I submit that even giving heed only pertains to a message the prophet is delivering that God has put into his mouth.

In my lifetime I have yet to read or hear any statement from a modern day president of the Church where he states he is delivering a message directly from the Lord. But I have read many instances where the Lord warns us against trusting in the arm of flesh or in following anyone other than Him.

(By the way, your cite of D&C 1:37-38 as though it refers to things to be spoken by future presidents of the church is inaccurate. Read the entire revelation. I don't think it pleases the Lord when we take only a portion of what he says and then spin it out of context to support a position that goes against his original intent.)

Anonymous said... has been so good for all those who drink it. Alcohol, the deadliest drug known to man, in terms of raw numbers. Grow up guys.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hard alcohol is indeed a deadly drug. But the Lord makes a distinction between distilled liquor (the hard stuff) and fermented fruits and grains, which can be beneficial in moderation.

The problem with modern LDS teachings it that those teachings ignore the words of the Lord and lump all alcohol as harmful.

A ripe banana contains about two droppersful of alcohol. And Bananas are good for you.

(eaten in moderation, of course.)

Anonymous said...

I think that if you want to try a really good beer, I would go to or and find great brews. Also, I would recomment that you go to a local brew pub and try it with some food. My first experiences with beer were less than compelling, but like anything of value, persistence and dedication always pay off. Keep at it and in a handful of visits, you'll be a fan of one of the most popular drinks in the history of mankind. There is a reason that its popular.

Anonymous said...

Being a Jack Mormon I started out drinking the hard liquors, but I only do that very sparingly. I started out the same with beer thinking that it tasted like piss, however that being said the only beers that I ever drank were the pale beers, the ales and so on. Little did I know that there are other types of beers, I found out soon that I enjoy the darker beers, I'm quite partial to the Lagers, Sam Adams is a good selection. If your in Salt Lake though The Bohemian Brewery is a good place to try the different beers, my personal favorite is the Bohemian's Viennese Lager. My girlfriend like's the Czech Pilsner. Basically have fun with it, for instance just the other night I tried Fosters Beer for the first time and was pleased with it. Remember that usually the paler the beer more than likely it's a wheat beer, the darker the beer, that's more hops and barley.

TKimball said...

If you want to ease into beer then try to get a malt drink before it is fermented. There were popular malts on my mission in Dominican Republic that we drank - and I liked them a lot! There they were called Malta Morena and Malt India. People gave it to their kids and it was good. if it had alcohol it was so small amount no one noticed. I would drink a malt here if I could find agood one. Malta India tasted better to me than Malta Morena and it was a little be darker.

R. Metz said...

I have heard that socalled liberal mormons are people who do not have a testimony of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This also applies to the use of alcoholic beverages contrary to the advise given in in the sciptures on the subject. Life in fear of the Lord is exciting enough without this stuff, and if it's not, you have a problem with yourself. So have a good time, folks.

deila taylor said...

Thanks for the background on the history of how the word of wisdom became a commandment and requirement to be baptised today. I have been looking for that answer for some time now. Hugh Nibley must have agreed and enjoyed a beer -- ref is here:

Anonymous said...

I suppose you could have some Vegamite with a water chaser.

I never liked beer either until I had wheat beer in Germany. I always wanted beer to taste like fresh baked rolls, which is what it smells like to me. Wheat beer comes closest to that ideal, but not sure it has the same nutritional benefits as other beers. Sorry I can't recommend a brand. I'm not an expert.

Folding wagons said...

if you drink half glass beer makes you healthy

Anonymous said...

The wayback machine has a link to the now disappeared PDF

Ed Francom said...

May I suggest "Poligamy Beer" for the history loving Latter Day Saint. It's motto is "When one just isn't enough!"

Back in the good old days, I loved a Sam Adams Dark.

Now, however, I work in the Temple and wish to continue working in the Temple.

Ed Francom

Anonymous said...

D&C 59 is where I think you can tie in many of the ideas stated above such as moderation. I love a good stout, or in the heat an crisp IPA. I've found that a beer in the late afternoon just before dinner is my perfect window. A slight buzz to gladden the heart and prepare my palate for the evening meal...

Judgement is important, drinking a beer simply because I have a window of opportunity almost seems inappropriate (for lack of a better term). But at the right time in the right place....ahhhhh.

16 Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours...

17 Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;

18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

Unknown said...

I've been reading through these comments and they are very eye opening. Its nice to see people looking into things, the way any responsible individual should.

One subject I haven't seen in the comments ( I haven't read them all ) is the one pertaining to D&C 89:12-13 "" 12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. "".

To me, this says in plain bible English that Meat is not to be eaten, except during times or winter, cold or famine and even then it should be eaten sparingly (The verses are plain and they are obviously meant to be understood as one)... I have noticed that members of the church always mention that it is to be eaten sparingly but never mention the bit about winter, cold or famine. Meaning that the Church in General purposely ignores the verse 13. The verse cannot be misconstrued considering the antonyms for "pleasing"..

Now, I am 37 years old and have never once met a Mormon that actually keeps that part of the word of wisdom ""Meat is only to be used in times of winter, cold or famine and even then it should be used sparingly"", Yet they all claim to keep the word of wisdom? So I started investigating it, you know asking questions, and the rudeness and pure anger that was expressed to me was startling, especially when I would ask how it was that members could go to the Temple while Unrepentantly breaking the Word of Wisdom...
So the things I have heard back are mixed, mainly stating that the Modern Day Profit says that its OK (One Missionary even told me that it is because they didn't have refrigerators back then, which made me laugh).. In my growing curiosity, i started wondering why the modern day church would condone such a thing (in this case saying that its ok to do something that the Word of Wisdom says not to do, where the thing about beer is saying not to do something that the Word of Wisdom says that you can do), i did some more research and discovered a post in Livestock Weekly where it Names the Mormon Church as the LARGEST COW-CALF PRODUCER in the entire United States! When interviewing the Manager (Chip Ramsay) of Deseret Ranch, this is what was said: """We’re in this for a profit," Ramsay says. "We're a taxpaying entity. We pay property taxes and income taxes just like anyone else.""" Now, lol, my question seems to have been answered through research and not from the mouth of any prophet.. It would seem, concerning the Modern day Church and the Original Scripture known as the Word of Wisdom, there is a blatant Conflict of Interest!! Which leads me to believe that the Church has definitely become Corrupt...

I'm still looking into this thing and was wondering if any of you educated folk had any thoughts on the subject.

Link to the article below:

Unknown said...

By conflict of interest, I mean that the Church PROFITS from the members breaking verse 89:13

Unknown said...

"It doesn't matter what your more recent 'prophets' say about it, because they have never canonized revelation into their scriptures to the otherwise."

This statement flies in the face of very clear church doctrine, regardless of the history of beer drinking in the church. How did you come to this conclusion?

I think in the end it comes down to are you willing to be obedient to the counsel of the prophets, even if it's something maybe you don't see as being so bad, like drinking a few beers. Many good people drink beers, but again no one ever became an alcoholic and destroyed his life and others who never drank alcohol. Maybe just that benefit is enough for us to accept we should abstain. I for one won't violate commitments I have made to keep the commandments based on the 'reasonable' arguments given above. It's not worth the risk that maybe your rationalizations are misleading you. There are certainly other ways to relax than drinking alcohol that I'm sure have the same benefit.

I'm not perfect and certainly have issues I struggle with, but why should I chance adding alcoholism as another just because it might reduce my stress?

If you struggle with this logic you should ask the living prophet why it's the way it is now, maybe he will clarify and tell us all it is OK. After all this is how we got the WOW in the first place, a concerned member went to the prophet with a specific problem and the WOW was the result.

Doug the Ex-Fat Guy said...

The WoW isn't a 'commandment' in the sense that D&C 89 was amended by any subsequent revelation. It is a measure of faithfulness to abstain from the proscribed substances, but I would always hesitate to 'sell' the 'health' benefits, or get into a discussion of what is 'harmful'. In general, we ought to be good stewards of our own bodies for obvious reasons, but I hardly believe that "Gawd" is going to get 'pissed' at me for my indulgence in Red Bulls and RockStars or the Tuesday night sojourn to Del Taco for "Taco Nite". I did once, when going through a significant personal crisis a few years ago, have a few beers here and there, my no-longer-factor-original GI track having some interesting reactions to an "Arrogant Double Bastard", which then I couldn't even finish. Since 8/31/2014, I've kept away from any alcohol and don't miss the buzz (though when it's hot a 'cold one' is appealing simply because it's COLD). In fact, I'd also taken to downing those 'Starbucks in a can" drinks, and those were HARDER to forego, but I did. It took about two months before it became habit again to 'abstain'.

We've been given a list of proscribed things, which NOW can include also drug abuse (even that of legally prescribed medicines), or Kava (IDK how strict the Church is in Polynesia regarding "Kava Culture", but I know that participation thereof is discouraged). That's enough to 'comply' with IF one wants to be considered 'in good standing' for purposes of serving in official callings or entering the Temple. And I live well with that. It's a matter of submission and humility. Do I really get on my self-righteous high horse and denounce those that pop open a beer after work and relax in front of the 'boob tube'? That seems pretentious, ridiculous, and NOT what the Savior would do. Having worked for over 20 years in Environmental Engineering,and having acquired enough familiarity with toxicology to be 'dangerous', I can say that alcohol, like almost anything, can be partaken of in MODERATION, for most w/o ill effect. The hell of it is staying MODERATE. A good lady friend, whom I term my 'beloved Snips', herself struggled with alcoholism prior to her membership in the Church. I don't even make jokes about beer or booze in her presence, as to her it was no laughing matter. It's part of what the Apostle Paul would describe as not placing a 'stumbling block' in front of someone else. For some, even ONE drink triggers binge drinking and other misbehavior. However, reciting scare tactics, IMO, ridicules the argument. I'd rather go with the approach, 'what's RIGHT with it?". For some, they can drink moderately and be 'right', others can't. We LDS choose to render the tolerance level at ZERO in order to humble ourselves and stand worthy. Ergo, given the choice between an Arrogant Bastard Ale and going to the Temple, I'll choose the Temple everytime. Yes, life is a bit less 'fun' on earth for that, but I'll 'roll with it', and let the Lord worry about how to make up any missed 'fun' if that's important.

Unknown said...

I can't read very well as I'm practically going blind and have nerve damage. Can you give me a list of beers and wines that you know of that would be in harmony with the word of wisdom? I"m going to try some very light drinking to help me relax and alleviate tremendous suffering. Thanks, Aaron

David said...

I eat neither meat nor drink beer, I have not changed my diet, just because I no longer seek to follow Church council; actually I slowly began to disregarded that council over the past decades, whenever the Spirit advised me otherwise.

The Word of Wisdom is lived by the Spirit, and Christ's teaching to us, not by anything else .

matt lohrke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DR. APPIAH said...

Waowwww. This j interesting. Also read more from

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